Customer Reviews for

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 240 )
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5 Star

(151)

4 Star

(62)

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(13)

2 Star

(7)

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(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

38 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

While GRAVE MERCY is categorized as YA, it has one foot in the a

While GRAVE MERCY is categorized as YA, it has one foot in the adult fiction category as well. Novels like this one show how rich and diverse the genre can be. I love a good fantasy, especially one as layered and textured as this. It twines lush, slow-building romanc...
While GRAVE MERCY is categorized as YA, it has one foot in the adult fiction category as well. Novels like this one show how rich and diverse the genre can be. I love a good fantasy, especially one as layered and textured as this. It twines lush, slow-building romance (No insta-love here, rejoice!) with political intrigue, deft mystery, and the lore of Death's handmaiden. Plus, there are female assassins. Win! The story unfurls at its own pace and never feels rushed. Rather, it's one I want to savor. If you're looking at the fact that GRAVE MERCY is Book I in the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN series, fear no more: This is not one of those stories. Ismae's tale is self-contained, as are the following novels, though I expect that familiar faces will come back in passing. The second book, DARK TRIUMPH, will center around Sybella, whom we meet briefly in GRAVE MERCY. My guess is that the third (and likely final) book in the series, DARK HOPE, will revolve around Annith, a third girl from the convent of Saint Mortain.

Many of the characters in GRAVE MERCY are centered around real people that lived, making the novel historical fantasy, which can be richer than traditional fantasy when factoring in all of the original research. Robin LaFevers posted an in-depth author's note on her website rather than in her novel so that readers wouldn't be pulled out of the story. Ismae, the novel's main character, is wholly original, as is Lord Gavriel Duval, the man with whom Ismae leaves the covent on a mission to discover who has been betraying Brittany to the French. The characters were both detailed and well-fleshed out. As the novel progressed, we learned more about each one and watched their wariness of one another move tentatively to trust and onward to something deeper. Ismae is such a complex character. Her story begins with betrayal: Her father sells her into an abusive marriage, and only after her escape does she discover the convent of Saint Mortain, a place where she can learn how to be her father Death's handmaiden, a female assassin.

Once she has spent three years training at the convent, Ismae is giving a position at Lord Duval's side to be the eyes and ears of Mortain, dealing justice to anyone found to be an enemy of Brittany. She is told to trust no one, and is properly careful around Duval. And Duval! This man is one of my favorite heroes to sweep his way into the fantasy genre in quite some time. I loved the way his character was built up. LaFevers pulls back layer after layer, revealing him like an onion until you can't help but love him and his unwavering loyalty. He shares a strong connection with Ismae; their relationship is never forced or rushed the way it is in so many teen novels. Both characters have reasons to guard their hearts, so when they let that guard down, the result is beautiful and deep.

GRAVE MERCY has been on my "to read" list since the publishing deal went through in 2010. I coveted it long before the awesome cover reveal that made everyone sit up and take notice. Sometimes when this happens, my expectations are too high and the book can never meet the lofty bar I've set for it. And that's always my fault, never the book's. With GRAVE MERCY, however, I never felt let-down. I was captivated from the moment I picked the book up and I couldn't put it down until I had turned the last page.

posted by Bonnie_W on March 29, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

It was rough.

The synopsis had me interested. Assassin nuns? It sounded pretty cool. Sadly it turned out to be more of a mystery/ romance than an action packed book about assassins. Plus, i really, and i mean REALLY, had to fight to get past the first 200 pages. It was really slow an...
The synopsis had me interested. Assassin nuns? It sounded pretty cool. Sadly it turned out to be more of a mystery/ romance than an action packed book about assassins. Plus, i really, and i mean REALLY, had to fight to get past the first 200 pages. It was really slow and boring. However, i trudged on because i wanted to find out what would become of the duchess and who the traitor was. I must admit that the last 80-100 pages were way more exciting than the first 3/4 of the book. Which is why i gave it two stars. The ending was rather quick and rushed, and seemed as though it wasnt very well planned or thought through. Overall its mostly boring with a little excitement in the end and an underwhelming ending.

posted by roniVT on May 15, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Amazing

    An amazing read!! Full of adventure, romance and pure excitment. It captured my full attention and had me feeling part of the story with all the magnificent detail. A must read. Loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    Excellent Read!

    I loved this book! it was so entertaining! The story is so unique and I thoroughly was surprised at some of the twists. I could not put it down, shame I have to wait a year for the next one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    page turner

    LOVED THIS BOOK! there were unexpected turns on every page. Stayed up late at night reading this one! it constantly kept me engrossed! this is a must have!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

    Awesome

    This book is something different from most. But in a good way loooooved the book and would recommend this bookbto everyone. Cant wait till the next one comes out!!!!!!:)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Wow! ;-)

    This was a really good book. I found it hypnotzing and magnificient, in it's own way. It is original and nice to see in this day and age were anything that is like a soap opera and paranormal creatures makes a best seller list. I enjoyed this book, but word to the wise you have to stick with it and wait for it to get better. Because I garantee it will. I hope this was helpful, happy reading. :-D

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Excellent!

    Great book cannot wait to read the next one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Advanced Reader Copy Review This book was one of my most anticip

    Advanced Reader Copy Review
    This book was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I have been getting more and more into historical fictions lately, and this Young Adult book fit the bill wonderfully. It wasn’t heavy with many characters with strange names that I couldn’t remember, that’s where historical and fantasy books usually go wrong for me. If I can’t differentiate between the characters, I can’t enjoy the book. Grave Mercy set everyone apart and in such wonderful ways.

    This is a pretty long book at over 500 pages when you are used to the 300 page young adult reads, but the pages are worth it. It leaves to a deeper storyline and characters that have time to grow. The main character, Ismae, grows from the beaten wife to a powerful assassin following orders, and then into the assassin that thinks for herself and chooses her own path. The budding romance is such a treat throughout the story, building up with just the right amount of tension. It’s a great journey to go on with Ismae, to see her piece together herself along with the world she lives in and the lies and truths hidden all around her.

    Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Lindsy

    " MOMMY !!!!!!!! " cries as Courtney cuts her

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  • Posted June 23, 2014

    Let¿s get one thing straight: I¿m not the biggest fan of histori

    Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction. Yeah, I love me a few classics, but mostly I’m just not that interested in historical fiction. That doesn’t mean I don’t love historical fantasy. I had the idea that His Fair Assassin series held a bit more fantasy in it, but the fantasy part wasn’t that big. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Grave Mercy, quite the opposite: I enjoyed this book a ton! 

    “When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”

    Pg. 21 already managed to surprise me, so you could say that it was good start. I like how we got knowledge of what is taught in the convent, but don’t spend too much details and time on it. The chapters are very short (about 10 pages) and there’s relatively big spacing between lines so it all reads very quickly. (That’s why the second book seems so much smaller when you compare the hardcovers, but nope! It’s not since the spacing & font in Dark Triumph are way smaller.)

    Ismae, even as a novice, is extremely kick-a! I loved how she went from a loyal follower to a young woman who realized that there are different interpretations to things and not everything is black and white. Her growth was pretty awesome. Duval :) Le sigh. He’s just too adorable for his own good. These two dislike each other thoroughly at first. One of my favorite romance types! We have this cliché scene where she comes down the stairs and he forgets to speak since he’s too busy staring at her. 

    Don’t mind me at all drooling over the pages. Ha. Yeah, this cliché scene totally got to me lol. The side characters, especially the main characters for the two companions in this series, are absolutely wonderful and very different from Ismae which I appreciated a lot. 

    The world is made of awesomeness and the learning experience until becoming a full-time assassin is well-written. It’s not overbearing, nor underwhelming. Later references to Ismae’s novice age more than make up for glossing over some information and make the story, plot and pace wise, even better. The writing is very simple for a historical fantasy book, but it really helps with the pacing, especially since the chapters are so short. During the middle part of the book the pacing and the plot slow down thanks to lots of scheming and plotting, so the power plays and politics may be a tad overwhelming if you’re not into those. The mystery was wonderful and kept me on my toes throughout the entire book. 

    I’m extremely excited about reading the next novels and discovering the world even more thoroughly. There are lots of questions in my head that are waiting to be answered and I cannot wait to find out more, plus, Beast will be one of the main characters in The Dark Triumph, whoop! This, my lovely friends, I’m very excited about :) Read this gorgeous thing with Jasprit & Tanja and it was so fun to discuss all the scheming and twists so thoroughly. Can’t wait to dive back into this world! 

    Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5.0

    Originally published on my blog @ Little Pieces of Imagination

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  • Posted June 20, 2014

    This book has so many characters.  I loved that, but I also had

    This book has so many characters.  I loved that, but I also had to write every ones name and "station" down so I didn't have to flip back to the front all the time.  It's harder to flip to the front on a Kindle book than a paper book.




    Ismae is such a fantastic character.  The beginning of this book shows us just how retched Ismae's life was before she was sent to the convent.  This is no ordinary  convent though.  This is a training facility for assassins.   I thought that was awesome....who would have thought to use the convent as a cover for training assassins.  hehe.  It was great.




    Ismae is the daughter of Mortain - The God of Death.  She is trained to take those out who death marks with out hesitation.  She is good at it also :).




    Ismae is sent with Gavrial Duval to protect the Duchess, and report back to the convent about Duvals actions.  She soon finds out that Duval is one of the good guys.  




    Duval and Ismae develop a great relationship.  There is scheming and cunning going on where the Dutchess is concerned.  She has been promised to several suitors, and Duval is intent on keeping her safe from one suitor in particular.  Count d'Albret.  Seriously, this man is vile.  V.I.L.E.  




    There is so much going on in this book.  There is deceit, betrayal, cunning, and romance.  Yup, romance.  Duval and Ismae's story comes along in the book, and I love that it was not an insta love.  I enjoyed that it took time for Ismae to trust, and to open her heart to someone.  She has had a hard life, and she deserves to have something good happen to her.




    I don't want to give anything away, but the bad guy, again surprised me.  I am just going to assume that the "good" guy is the "bad" guy from now on...hehehe  Obviously my observation skills while reading are not very good.  OR, the author does a fantastic job of hiding the villain.  Ya, lets go with that :).  Actually, I really did not expect the bad guy to be who it was.  I LOVE it when I  cannot figure it out.  




    I think the author did a great job of putting me "in" this book.  The word building was fantastic.  I felt like I was following Ismae's journey right along with her.  I could feel her emotions, and her struggle with what she is commanded to do, and what she felt in her heart was the right thing to do.  I felt invested in the characters.  The struggles they go through to protect their friends and family.  I love the loyalty that is shown in this book.




    I cannot wait to read the next book.  This book was exciting, and fabulous. 

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Grave Mercy is about kick-butt Assassin Nuns.. what's not to lov

    Grave Mercy is about kick-butt Assassin Nuns.. what's not to love? With paranormal and historical fiction elements, this book has the potential to be absolutely amazing. Unfortunately though, I found that this book was just not for me. Everything about it appealed to me and seemed so beautiful – the cover is one of the best I have seen and the overview sounded catching and drew me in.




    The characters and storyline were a complete hit and miss for me. It just felt like there was something missing, something to bring it all together. I was so sad that I was so bored - really it broke my heart.




    The plot really fell flat for me and I didn't feel a connection to the characters. There was plenty of potential, which just did not materialise – perhaps it improves in the next book. Unfortunately I do not have the urge to continue with the series.




    I know my review is in the minority when it comes to this series, but hey that's OK, there are still a ton of great books out there waiting to be read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    Page turner!!!

    Great book, if u like historical fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2014

    Love it

    It is like another version of the gods and saints during this time period the author wonderfully created. I highly recommend the book to all teens 14 & up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    recommended plus

    Intriguing plot. This reads well to place you back a few centuries - and the tale cangive you second thoughts about the pleasures of ancient France!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Couldnt put it down

    This book is full of action and definately held my attention. Cant wait to read Dark triumph

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2014

    Fantastic

    Absoltely Amazing

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Very enjoyable!

    I very much enjoyed this book. Taking place in the Middle Ages, this book had me turning pages to find out what happened. Just enough paranormal to give it another spark, this book is very well written, characters well developed, and action to keep it moving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    Great book

    This late middle agges early renasonce book is set with a romantic back drop. It is about brittany and there dutchass it is bassed on reality with a fantice twist to it. There are so many twist and turns to is that it is almost imposible to put down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    This is my favorite book

    Until i read this book, i had many favorite books. Now this is my favorite.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I'm very surprised to see this is categorized as YA. I didn't re

    I'm very surprised to see this is categorized as YA. I didn't realize it until after I'd read. Appropriate for YA, sure, but also a very good read for an adult.

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